Embracing Home With Marissa of Heartwares

As a part of my Embracing Home series, I want to introduce a friend of mine. Marissa is a creative over at Heartwares where she creates custom cloth photo books, banners, blankets and pillows.  She had an art business before I did so I have gone to her for questions as I started my own. She was gracious enough to share her home with us as a part of my Embracing Home blog series. We have worked together the past few years planning and decorating our church building. I love Marissa's thriftiness and creativity. She has an eye for decorating and bringing things together. I love how you can see her creativity and personality throughout her home. I hope that this post inspires you and gives you some creative ideas for your own home. 
After relocating back to the Louisville area, from the college town where my husband, Jordan, and I met and got married, we had a hard time finding a home. We way out-stayed our welcome living with family, during a longer-than-expected home search. Finally (finally!) we found a house we loved and our family moved into the 1925 bungalow we’ve called home for the past five years ago. When we moved our oldest daughter, Lucy, was almost two and we were about to welcome our second baby girl, Anna. (We have since had our son, Eliot)

We ended up across the river from Louisville in New Albany, Indiana because housing was affordable and we really wanted an older home in a walkable neighborhood. The house had a been in the same family for a long time with few renovations until a local housepainter bought it and re-did the kitchen, bathrooms as well as the exterior and interior paint.

(random side note: Once when having a yard sale we had the opportunity to meet a lady who grew up in the house and her former bedroom is the room our girls now share)

We immediately loved a few things about our house; the large front porch, original inlayed hardwood floors and wood trim that remained unpainted. But there were of course things we really didn’t like… the lack of closets, the really cheap carpet that covered the entire upstairs, the honey oak kitchen cabinets.

We have changed things over time. The first major change was to finish the basement. We never planned to do this, but we often host friends and all their little ones so the added space really helped. To save money, we hired a contractor to do all the framing, drywall and electrical but we did all the painting. Rather than installing a basement ceiling, we sprayed the exposed floorboards white to save some headroom and money. After a failed attempt at having carpet in our sometimes-leaky basement Jordan stained the original concrete floors and we had a rug made out the carpet.

We’ve fixed most of the quirks we didn’t like at first; Painted those honey oak kitchen cabinets white over a good, long weekend of sanding, priming and sweating. We also recently ripped up the upstairs carpet. It was a much bigger job than we anticipated, but was a big improvement (even though we maybe should have hired someone to do that instead of doing it ourselves…). We love getting to doing the work ourselves to save money but also to feel connected to the house (well, we love when the work’s done).

While my husband and I have never really budgeted for furniture or decorations, I have never wanted to pay too much for them. I enjoy hunting, slowly collecting and making things for our home. My love of making things has been passed down to at least our oldest daughter (time will tell on the other two) and I like her to have some ownership of her room, so there’s lots of her own art on the walls.

Having three little kids has made me not want to pay too much for furniture since they’re so great at making messes. A lot of our furniture is from Craigslist. I have found that if I look long and often enough I can find something that almost fits what I want at the price I want. The couch was one of my more recent purchases and I found it for $100 from an estate sale advertised on craigslist. (Good thing it wasn’t too expensive since a white couch might have not be the best choice with the little folks) The armchairs I also found on craigslist. I didn’t like the cushions so I figured out how to make new ones. They’re not exactly what I would have chosen but we made them work with what we were willing to spend. The rug in the living room was my Christmas gift from Jordan, the WPA posters above our couch were from an old calendar, and our mantel holds a lot of Jordan’s artwork and random items given to us from family and friends.
My favorite piece of furniture, our dining room table, was passed down to us. It came out of Jordan’s Grandma and Grandpa’s farmhouse (it came with the house when they purchased it). When his grandparents decided to sell the farmhouse, none of the other grandchildren wanted it so we got to bring it home. His family gathered at the farmhouse each Thanksgiving for about 30 years and it’s sweet to think of all the memories and meals shared around the table.

I love having things throughout our house that remind us of people we love. So throughout our home are items that were given to us, made for us, kept from childhood and photographs. I love incorporating these special things into our home especially since some of our grandparents have now passed away.

There are several rooms in our house we probably should give some attention to but the reality of having three little kids and a limited budget limits what we can actually do. We are learning (slowly) to enjoy the chaos little people bring and trying not to do too much daydreaming of home projects we can’t do right now or dreaming of a house on several acres (ours has a tenth of an acre). I’ve learned what I want changes and often don’t know what ’s best for me, so I’m trying to be content where I am so I can enjoy this home and my family. 


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